Radio

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

From Northampton, Massachusetts, beloved folk-rocker Stephen Kellogg returns to Mountain Stage this week with a band that includes Miranda Mulholland of the Great Lake Swimmers. He closes his 2015 set with crowd favorite "The Bear" on this week's encore broadcast.

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.  Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.

The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV. 

December 29, 1861: Sutton Burns

Dec 29, 2016
Suttonville, as it was known then, was strategically located on the Elk River, which ran south all the way to Charleston.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

The Braxton County seat of Sutton was nearly burned to the ground on December 29, 1861. During the first year of the Civil War, western Virginia was besieged by Union and Confederate troops vying for control of the region. Most fighting centered on important transportation routes.

Suttonville, as it was known then, was strategically located on the Elk River, which ran south all the way to Charleston. It was also located on the Weston and Gauley Bridge Turnpike, which connected the town with other key roads.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

 

Singer and songwriter Craig Finn is best known as the frontman of the raucous punk-influenced rock band The Hold Steady. But in his solo work, Finn turns his focus to quiet themes of perseverance and redemption, as we can hear on this Mountain Stage performance of "Christine" from his latest album Faith in the Future.

Shepherdstown and Romney were both chartered on the same day, the big question still comes down to which one came first.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

On December 23, 1762, the Virginia General Assembly chartered the towns of Romney and Shepherdstown, igniting one of the longest-lasting debates in West Virginia history. The question?  Is Romney or Shepherdstown West Virginia’s oldest incorporated town? 

In 1991, the station fell into bankruptcy and went off the air. It was resurrected a little more than a year later by Fantasia Broadcasting.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 22, 1928, Fairmont’s WMMN radio station went on the air. The call letters were based on the initials of popular Fairmont attorney and U.S. Senator Matthew M. Neely. Like many other radio stations in Appalachia, WMMN played an important role in the growth of country music.

In 1938, WMMN began hosting a live Saturday night show. The Sagebrush Roundup was broadcast from Fairmont’s National Guard.  It featured some of the bigger names in country music, including Buddy Starcher and Grandpa Jones, who would later become a beloved TV star on Hee-Haw.

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

Over the course of nearly half a century, NRBQ - which stands for "New Rhythm and Blues Quartet" - has earned the distinction of being one of the most finely tuned bands in America, with plenty of swing. Lead by founder and pianist Terry Adams, Scott Ligon takes the lead on this Mountain Stage performance of "Waitin' on my Sweetie Pie."

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / e-WV

On December 16, 1897, John F. Morgan was hanged in Ripley for the murder of Chloe Greene and two of her sons. It was the last public execution in West Virginia history.

Some 5,000 spectators poured into the Jackson County seat. Many were drunk, and some even sold souvenirs. The rowdy scene prompted West Virginia lawmakers to take action.

Jim McGuire

Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is proud to announce the return of Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn and The Del McCoury Band to Charleston, West Virginia.

A faulty eyebar eventually cracked and began to corrode, out of sight from the public or bridge inspectors. At about 5 p.m. on December 15, the eyebar failed, setting off a series of other failures that caused the bridge to collapse.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

  

December 15, 1967, was one of the darkest days in West Virginia history. Sadly, it was only the first of many tragic days that West Virginians would suffer.

The Silver Bridge, which connected Point Pleasant with Gallipolis, Ohio, had opened to traffic in 1928. It was the first bridge in the nation to use an innovative eyebar-link suspension system rather than a traditional wire-cable suspension.

Josh Saul/Mountain Stage

As Don Henley's long-time writing partner, JD Souther has had his hands in some of the most memorable pop songs of all time,  including "The New Kid in Town" and "Best of My Love." But here, Souther teams up with Mountain Stage favorite Nellie McKay to cover another legendary songwriter: Cole Porter's standard "Every Time We Say Goodbye."

Discover our holiday line-up of radio specials. 

Battle of Allegheny Mountain: December 13, 1861

Dec 13, 2016
Union General Robert Milroy’s force of about 1,900 went up against the Confederate’s 1,200 troops.
Wikipedia

On December 13, 1861, the Battle of Allegheny Mountain was fought in Pocahontas County. Following the Battle of Greenbrier River at Camp Bartow on October 3, the Confederate army had withdrawn to winter quarters atop Allegheny Mountain. Union General Robert Milroy likely believed the Confederates were demoralized and launched an attack on the cold mountain summit. Milroy’s force of about 1,900 went up against the Confederate’s 1,200 troops.

Adam Harris / Mountain Stage

2016 was a big year for NPR Music and West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Mountain Stage. We celebrated 33 years of live performance radio, commemorated the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s legendary set, and listened to the voices of two new guest hosts

Over the years, the performers who have recorded Wheeler’s songs read like a Who’s Who of country music.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 9, 1932, songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County. He started writing and performing songs when he was just a teenager.

Wheeler got his first check in the music business when Pat Boone recorded his song “Rock Boll Weevil.” He would go on to write more than 500 other songs, including the country classics “Jackson,” “The Reverend Mister Black,” and “Coward of the County.”

Blenko Glass also manufactures trophies for the annual Country Music Awards.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Glassmaker William Blenko was born in England on December 8, 1854. In his late thirties, he immigrated to the United States and tried to produce stained glass for a living. Unfortunately, business after business failed—until he wound up in the Cabell County town of Milton in 1921.

Charles Town Race Track Opens: December 2, 1933

Dec 2, 2016
The Charles Town Race Track opened in Jefferson County on December 2, 1933.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

The Charles Town Race Track opened in Jefferson County on December 2, 1933.  It was the first track in West Virginia to open after the state legalized racing and parimutuel betting. The sprawling complex featured a 3,000-seat, steam-heated grandstand and a 200-seat restaurant.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

Legendary political consultant Matthew Reese died on December 1, 1998, at the age of 71. His political career started in 1948, when he helped Huntington’s Maurice “Bernie” Burnside get elected to Congress.

Izetta Jewell Kenny Born: November 24, 1883

Nov 24, 2016
got involved with farm women’s groups, attended the first farm women’s camp at Jackson’s Mill, and served on a committee to improve wool production.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Izetta Jewell Brown, US Senate, William Gay Brown, Preston County

Izetta Jewell Kenny was born in New Jersey on November 24, 1883. In 1914, she moved to West Virginia with her husband, William Gay Brown, a congressman from Kingwood.

In 1920—the year women got the right to vote nationally—Brown attended the National Democratic Convention. She seconded the presidential nomination of West Virginia’s John W. Davis, a first for a woman in U.S. history.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

 

As the year winds down and we prepare for the camaraderie of Thanksgiving, Mountain Stage looks back at some of our favorite performances of 2016. One of those performances comes from The Wood Brothers, an established folk-soul trio from Nashville whose latest release Paradise was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach.

November 17, 1766: Pioneer Morgan Morgan Died

Nov 17, 2016
Pioneer Morgan Morgan was an influential member of the Bunker Hill community and helped found Christ Episcopal Church. Today, his grave is part of the church’s cemetery, and a log cabin he built stands nearby.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Morgan Morgan, Bunker Hill, Berkeley County, Christ Church Episcopal Church, Potomoke

Pioneer Morgan Morgan died on November 17, 1766. Generations of schoolchildren grew up being taught that Morgan was the first permanent white settler in present West Virginia. Now, though, we know that others came before him.

World War I Ends: Nov. 11 1918

Nov 11, 2016
The last-surviving WWI veteran was Frank Buckles died at Charles Town in 2011 at the age of 110.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Frank Buckles, WWI, Charles Town,

On November 11, 1918, World War I ended after more than four years of brutal fighting. Nearly 39 million soldiers had been killed, wounded, or listed as missing. American soldiers arrived on the scene only during the last year-and-a-half of the war. Still, some 116,000 died in the conflict.

About 58,000 West Virginians served in the war. Of these, more than 1,100 were killed in action, and nearly 700 died in training. Many others died from influenza or other diseases.

Parsons suffered significant damage due to the rains brought on by Tropical Storm Juan
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online; The Parson's Advocate. / Tropical Storm Juan, Parsons WV, North Branch of the Potomac River, South Branch Valley

In the predawn hours of November 4, 1985, a large band of rain began forming from North Carolina to West Virginia. The storm was stronger than most because it was picking up moisture from Tropical Storm Juan, which had hit the Southeast just days before. 

Country Singer Brad Paisley Born: October 28, 1972

Oct 28, 2016
By 2010, Paisley had won more than 60 awards, including three Grammys.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Brad Paisley, Grand Ole Opry, Glen Dale, Marshall County, C-Notes, Academy of Country Music

Country music superstar Brad Paisley was born in Marshall County on October 28, 1972. At age eight, the Glen Dale native began studying guitar with local musician “Hank” Goddard. Only two years later, he stepped in as the front man for the C-Notes, a local band of older musicians. At age 14, he became the youngest-ever regular cast member of Jamboree USA. He remained with the Wheeling radio show for eight years.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Reverend Joseph Gluck, Forks-of-Cheat Baptist Church, 1775, Stewartstown

Ann Kathryn Flagg died on October 27, 1970. The playwright, teacher, and actress was born in Charleston in 1924.

After growing up in the segregated part of town, she graduated from Garnet High School in 1941 and from West Virginia State College four years later. She then taught drama in a Virginia high school and toured nationally with the noted American Negro Repertory Players. Afterward, she returned to West Virginia to teach at Fairmont’s Dunbar High School.

October 21, 1940: Gov. William Conley Dies at 74

Oct 21, 2016
William Conley, Preston Co., Kingwood, Tucker County, WV Attorney General, Republican, Arch Moore, Cecil Underwood
e-wv / The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On October 21, 1940, former West Virginia Governor William G. Conley died at the age of 74. The Republican started his career as a schoolteacher and became superintendent of Preston County schools at age 25. After earning his law degree, he opened a legal practice in Tucker County and founded the Parsons Advocate newspaper. He also served as mayor of Parsons and Kingwood before being appointed West Virginia attorney general in 1908.

Senator Harry F. Byrd Died: October 20, 1966

Oct 20, 2016
Harry Byrd, in 1907, he established the Martinsburg Evening Journal newspaper.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Harry F. Byrd, Martinsburg Evening Journal, Richard Byrd, 1966, 1887

U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd died on October 20, 1966. The Democrat was a pivotal political figure for much of the 20th century.

Born in Martinsburg in 1887, Byrd was descended from the city’s leading families. His great-great-grandfather had built the historic Martinsburg mansion known as Boydville. His great-uncle was Charles James Faulkner, who had served as U.S. ambassador to France and as an aide to “Stonewall” Jackson during the Civil War. And his brother was polar explorer Richard E. Byrd.

Yeager beside the Bell X-1 rocket plane Glamous Glennis.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Chuck Yeager, Lockheed P-80, Charleston, Lincoln County, World War II

On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 rocket airplane dropped from the belly of a B-29 bomber. Seconds later, Yeager entered the history books as the first pilot to break the sound barrier.

By this time, the 24-year-old Lincoln County native was already an aviation legend. During World War II, he had flown 64 combat missions over Europe and, in a single dogfight, had killed 13 Germans. In his eighth mission, he had been shot down over German-occupied France.

Bishop John Joseph Kain served as bishop of the Wheeling Diocese, and Archbishop of St. Louis.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / John Joseph Kain, Martinsburg, Wheeling, Diocese of Wheeling, St. Louis, Civil War, Harpers Ferry

Roman Catholic Bishop John Joseph Kain died on October 13, 1903, at the age of 62. In the late 1800s, he was the driving force behind the growth of the Catholic church in West Virginia.

Kain was ordained as a priest in 1866. His first pastoral assignment was in his native town of Martinsburg. His missions ranged from nearby Harpers Ferry to Leesburg, Virginia. During his seven years in this position, he helped rebuild communities that had been ravaged by the Civil War.

Caviar, Vodka, and a World Premiere for the Montclaire String Quartet

Oct 12, 2016

The upcoming week of recitals for the Montclaire String Quartet seeks to offer a variety of musical flavors. A taste of Caviar -- with Mozart's Quartet No. 15 in D minor K421, a splash of vodka -- with Tchaikovsky's Quartet No. 1 in D major op. 11, and a world premiere -- with Matt Jackfert's new piece POLLY HOLLOW for String Quartet.

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